Sunday, 13 April 2008

School Misery (2)

And so I entered Fairfield Grammar School at aged 11 years, and three and a bit months.

Others had blazed the trail. My Great-Aunt Bess (she who had promised to finance my education - but died penniless) had been a scholar there, when it had been known as Fairfield Higher Grade School.

Archie Leach had also been a Fairfieldian. Surely you all know Archie Leach by another name!

First I had to get used to wearing a school uniform. Short trousers (pants) until puberty; blue or black blazer with a school badge; gray calf length socks with Fairfield colours at the top; school tie and school cap.

A “Prefect” (an older scholar in the lower or upper 6th forms) could discipline you if you were caught on the way to or from school without wearing the hat.

(I still have my school hat and tie!).

At aged 11+ I was now in the “First Form”. There were probably some 100 first-formers, and we were arbitrarily divided into four groups (home rooms in the U.S.A.), form rooms in England, named 1A, 1B, 1C and 1D.

I was assigned to 1D.

I had never before met any other girl or boy in this class.

(I was one of three boys from Eastville Junior Mixed School who were promoted to Fairfield. I half remember that one of them was David Moon - I’d liked him well enough at Eastville as he had sung with me in the choir there. The other was Clive Hargett. I already had a crush on him. But neither he nor David Moon was in Form 1D).

My “best friend” at Eastville J.M.S., Colin Powney, had been promoted to Cotham Grammar School, and he’d moved from Eastville to Henleaze, so now I rarely saw him.

So I had to make new friends. My first attempt was with a nice enough boy named Peter Perrott. But after three or so weeks he announced to me “I like to play football (soccer), but you don’t, so we cannot be friends”.

Thus began the loneliness.

Fairfield was organised as it were a Public (in England) Prep (in the U.S.A.) School.

At F.G.S. there were four “houses”, consisting of scholars from each form (grade). I was assigned to Blue House. So Mum and Dad had to purchase gym kit with blue braiding around the collar of the T shirt and around the hem of the shorts.

Not a word yet about classes, but my misery had already begun.

1 comment:

  1. I'm already thinking of one of my favorite Orwell essays, "Such, Such Were the Joys." Will eagerly await the next installment.